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The LEAD Project, coordinated by VUB, co-organized with project partner Tongji University the LEAD Academic Leadership Forum and workshops at Tongji University in Shanghai on 13th and 14th of November in Shanghai.


Over 80 higher education stakeholders interested in university governance and academic leadership, including Rectors and Vice-rectors, Presidents and Vice Presidents from European and Chinese universities have discussed academic leadership and university governance issues in the context of innovation and internationalisation of higher education.


Executive Vice President of Tongji University and the President of VUB Board of Directors Mr. Eddy Van Gelder gave opening and welcome speeches at the LEAD forum. Mr. Eddy Van Gelder highlighted the importance of enhancing good university governance to respond to the societal challenges and introduced the changes of some European Universities’ governance structures, such as the board and council structures of VUB and the academic leadership development initiatives (eg. the mentoring initiative). The opening session of the LEAD forum welcomed  Director General of DG Education and Culture of the European Commission, Mrs. Martine Reicherts, and the Director China Academic Degrees and Graduate Education Development Center of Ministry of Education of China, Mr. Huang Baoyin. 

VUB Chairman Eddy Van Gelder gives welcome speech for LEAD Project in Shanghai

Director General Martine Reicherts of DG EAC stressed the EU-China People to People Dialogue and she expressed her appreciation of the LEAD consortium dedicating to concrete EU-China cooperation in higher education and bring together EU-China stakeholders to address the issues on university governance and academic leadership. DG Martine Reicherts also highlighted the Erasmus+ framework facilitating exchange and mobility for youth and education stakeholders. To strengthen the innovative, inclusive and high quality education, various of learning forms need to be encouraged; especially the training of young people and students with the right skills needed for the modern society is highly important in order to enhance employability as well as promoting the advancement of the society. DG Reicherts also described the LEAD project as an ambassador of EU-China people-to-people cooperation and a flagship Erasmus + capacity building project supported by the European Commission. 

Participants at the LEAD Project in Shanghai

Mr. Huang Baoyin from the Ministry of Education of China introduced the Strategies of China to develop double world-class universities with a Two-Wheel Drive of Discipline and University Development. He also introduced the approached of China to strengthen Talents Training and Innovations in Scientific Research.

The forum was followed by 4 key sessions focusing on 1) the Global context and drivers of changes for university governance; 2) vision and strategic planning of university governance; 3) challenges and strategies to enhance academic leadership in the EU and China; 4) the academic leadership development. Well-known European and Chinese scholars and university leaders have addressed at the forum, including leaders and scholars from Tongji University, Sichuan University, Fudan University, Renmin University, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Beijing Normal University, Free University of Brussels (VUB), University of Cyprus, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Middle East Technical University, University of Vienna, University of Ghent, and Zagreb University.


The topics are highly relevant for enhancing our understanding of university governance and exchange views on different challenges and strategies to strengthen governance and leadership in different contexts. The cases of different universities in the EU and China were also addressed.

President of Tongji University hosted the dinner for all participants and thanked all speakers and participants for their valuable contribution at the LEAD forum.


On 14th November LEAD participants had the unique opportunity to attend the 4th round of the EU-China High level People to People Dialogue.  The EU Commissioner Tibor Navracsics and the Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong reviewed the work of both sides and highlighted the commitment of both EU and China in supporting joint initiatives in Education, Culture, Youth, Sport and Gender equality.  In his official remarks, EU Commissioner Tibor Navracsiscs  mentioned the activities of the LEAD consortium as an example of successful joint cooperation between the EU and China, and its collaboration with the EU-China Higher Education Platform for Exchange and Cooperation (HEPEC).


The LEAD forum and workshops in Shanghai is part of the 4th series of LEAD activities focusing on strengthening university governance and academic leadership. Before the Shanghai events, the LEAD project has organized the LEAD workshop at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan from 10-11 November 2017.


For more information about the LEAD project, please visit: http://lead-project.org/

Initiated in 2015, the LEAD project is an Erasmus+ KA2 Capacity Building Project in the field of Higher Education supported by the European Commission.  Coordinated by VUB, LEAD brings together 5 European partners and 5 Chinese partners, together with 10 associated partners from Europe and China. The project aims to strengthen cooperation and enhance the capacity of EU and Chinese higher education institutions in governance and academic leadership in the context of innovation and internationalization of higher education. The goal is to foster a better understanding of academic leadership approaches in the EU and China by developing and implementing trainings for academic leaders in areas such as policy making, strategic planning and change management.